Are we approaching the end? Will life on Earth as we know it end sooner than we expect? Are we face to face with “an inconvenient truth”? Most religions give place to eschatology in their doctrines. Buddhists anticipate the disappearance of Buddha’s teachings, and that his moral courses of conduct will be replaced by amoral concepts; after a complete decline, Buddhism will be re-established. Zoroastrians believe at the end of the world everything will burn in fire. In Judaism, “the end of days” will come with tumultuous events, and a new world order will be established under God’s rule. Some Christians interpret the present tragedies around the globe as indicators of the Armageddon to come after angels pour “seven bowls of the wrath of God” upon the Earth. One of the six pillars of faith in Islam is to believe in the Hereafter which will follow bodily resurrection of all mankind after the destruction of the world as portrayed in many verses of the Qur’an: When the sun is folded up; And when the stars fall (losing their luster); And when the mountains are set moving; And when the seas rise up boiling; And when the souls are coupled; And when the scrolls are laid open; And when the heaven is torn away; And when the Blazing Flame is kindled; And when Paradise is brought near . . .
In this issue we discuss not the theological arguments concerning the Day of Judgment, but some scientific speculations on how it might happen. Some say global warming followed by an ice age will bring life on Earth to an end and may trigger the Apocalypse. Expounding on some Qur’anic verses, Dr. Cakmak speculates on how Divine Predestination could operate on the physical world in the folding and collection of light. He suggests, “The events depicted in the verses, by the will of the Creator, may be dependent on the gravitational power of black holes.” Dr. Polatoz argues that apocalyptic events will take place within the sphere of physical laws which will destroy the world, but these laws will not apply after a certain stage following resurrection. These arguments are certainly personal deductions and only God knows what is to come. Dr. Kurtoglu reminds us about the perfect balance established in our universe with a fascinating article on phytoplankton and the critical role these microorganisms hold in the food chain. He makes us realize the horrible destruction we cause in our beautiful world. So, now the question is: Are we preparing our own end?
The Reverend Kip Gilts’ article on “Levels of Tolerance” provides inspirational guidelines for volunteers in interfaith dialogue on how to promote understanding of others who are not like “us.” We learn from his short essay that tolerance is not a compromise, but a love-filled path of sharing the same world.